If you're considering back or neck surgery, selecting the right surgeon is essential for you to have your best chance at achieving pain relief and minimizing potential complications.
So, how do you find a great spine surgeon?
1.Talk to the nurses
The nurses see the surgeon's results - they see the successes and they see the mistakes - and they know the difference.
Ask to speak to the Nursing Director. Let him or her know you have questions for the operating room and ask for help gaining access to them. Also ask to speak to nurses who work on the floor where surgeon's patients usually go after surgery (they see the recovery experience of that surgeon's patients vs. other surgeon's patients).
2.Crowdsourcing on the internet
Internet sites like RateMD.com
, and Vitals.com
are tapping into the collective wisdom of thousands of patients, allowing them to rank and rate physicians based on their individual experiences.
3.Outcomes based rankings
Consumer Reports and Medicare are starting to score doctors on their actual outcomes. Consumer Reports recently launched ratings of surgeons based on their heart bypass outcomes, but more specialties are sure to follow.
Medicare also rates physicians based on outcomes, but if your surgeon does not take Medicare he or she will not be included.
Also, consider doing a background check (using Doctor Background Check or MD Nationwide) to review any history of malpractice or to discover if the surgeon has been subject to any disciplinary actions.
4.Board certification and state licenses
At the very least, confirm that he or she is board certified or board eligible in his or her specialty by visiting American Board of Medical Specialties. Visit Federation of State Medical Boards to make sure he or she is licensed in the state.
All of the above takes time, but when you consider the magnitude of the potential risks and the potential upside of having surgery, then it is definitely worth the time and effort.
Keyword: best spinal surgeon